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Israeli ministers demand intensification of Gaza bombing

ISRAELI ministers demanded the intensification of the pounding of the besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip today after Tel Aviv denied an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement had been made with Hamas.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called for more air strikes on the territory after a night of heavy bombardment by F-16 fighter jets.

The pair, who are co-leaders of Likud’s coalition partners the New Right (Hayamin Hehadash) party, have often criticised prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to Hamas, calling for Israel to increase its attacks.

Mr Bennett was speaking in Kibbutz Alumim, an Israeli village close to the illegally constructed border fence, when he appeared to call for the bombing of civilian areas.

“Bombing an empty building and then feeling good, as if this is what is deterring Hamas, is nonsense, it does not work,” he said.

He dismissed reports of a ceasefire negotiated through mediators Egypt as “embarrassing” and said he would stop such a development.

Israeli officials however denied that a ceasefire had been agreed with Hamas. Mr Netantahu ordered the deadly attacks on Gaza from his flight back from Washington.

Mr Bennett’s bullish stance was praised by Ms Shaked, who claimed that Hamas was “simply not afraid of us.”

Israel has ratcheted up regional tensions, spurred on by US imperialism with President Donald Trump’s recognition of Tel Aviv’s sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights.

Large demonstrations took place across the area today as thousands protested, many holding posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as they declared loyalty to Damascus.

Syria slammed the move as “blatant aggression.” 

The Foreign Ministry branded it the “highest level of contempt for international legitimacy” and showed that Washington was “the main enemy” of Arabs.

The actions have led to accusations of attempts to boost Mr Netanyahu’s election campaign, with Israelis heading to the polls in just a few weeks time.

He is trailing Benny Gantz’s Blue and White alliance, with Likud warning that the retired liutenant general is “mentally unstable” in a desperate bid to claw back support.

The bombing of Gaza echoes previous patterns before Israel’s 2009 and 2013 elections with huge military offensives launched against Gaza over alleged missiles being fired from the territory.

Israel stands accused of war crimes after killing more than 250 unarmed Palestinians, injuring at least 23,000 during the Great March of Return protests.

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